The 1950s were a time of social change and economic growth in the United States. The economy was booming, and families moved from cities to suburbs. Television became popular, as did rock ‘n’ roll music.

The fashion trends of the 1950s are characterized by simple silhouettes, full skirts, high waists, wide shoulders, and tight waists. 

1950s Style

The 1950s style was very feminine and exaggerated. The fashion industry was trying to keep up with American women who wanted more fashionable clothes than ever before.

The decade began with women wearing “the New Look” — a style inspired by Christian Dior’s 1947 collection. The New Look featured A-line dresses with cinched waists and full skirts; however, it soon fell out of favor with American consumers who preferred more conservative styles that reflected the country’s new conservatism after World War II.

As the decade progressed, designers like Claire McCardell began experimenting with more relaxed silhouettes for women’s clothing such as sleeveless dresses with loose hems and pockets sewn into them. She also used fabrics like nylon jersey and gabardine for easy-to-wear, comfy clothes that were appropriate all year round — something that had not been seen before in fashion design.

The biggest trend for the decade was the hourglass shape — with cinched waists and full skirts. Dresses were made of bright colors like yellow, red, blue and green; stripes were also very popular during this time period. 

50s Rockabilly Fashion

50s Rockabilly Fashion
Source: Amazon

The most important trend during this period is the emergence of rockabilly/rock ‘n’ roll culture which inspired people to wear clothing that was more casual and fun than what they wore before. 

This is one of the most celebrated old fashions of all time, and it’s not hard to see why.

Its bold, rich colors speak volumes, and its interesting old-school style puts a smile on your face. Plus, it’s not something you can wear every day—but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun!

It’s perfect for theme parties and events where you want to wear something out there. 

Greaser Fashion

Greaser Fashion
Source: Pinterest

Greasers wore leather jackets, jeans, and T-shirts. They often wore white shirts with black ties or open-collared shirts. They wore their hair slicked back with pomade or Vaseline to keep it in place. Some greasers wore pompadours (a type of hairstyle), and others had ducktails (another type of hairstyle).

The typical look for a greaser was a fitted black leather jacket, tight blue jeans with rolled-up cuffs, and a white T-shirt underneath. Greasers also had distinctive hairstyles and piercings — styles such as pompadours (longer on top) and ducktails (shorter on the sides but longer in the back) were common among them. 

The 50s Fashion — Female Icons & Celebrity Fashionistas

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe
Source: Bill Fecher

If you’re looking for a style icon from the 1950s, look no further than Marilyn Monroe. With her platinum blonde hair and red lips, she was the quintessential 1950s bombshell. But she wasn’t just a pretty face—she was also an actress who stole hearts across the country.

Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn
Source: Advanced graphics

Audrey Hepburn is another great icon to study if you want to learn more about fashion in the 1950s. This famous actress popularized an elegant look with minimal accessories that many women today still emulate today—and it all started with her iconic beehive hairdo!

Grace Kelly

Grace Kelly
Source: Flickr

If you’re into more classic styles, Grace Kelly might be your gal. She epitomizes elegance and sophistication while still being comfortable in her own skin (and out of it). Her iconic wedding dress is an excellent example of this as it displayed intricate lace details, which also inspired the look for Kate Middleton’s gown for the Royal Wedding in 2011.

James Dean

James Dean
Source: zimbio

And if you want some serious flair? James Dean has got you covered with his effortless style that was inspired by his own personality: simple yet chic!

Hair & Accessories

Hair & Accessories
Source: Etsy

The most obvious change was in the hairdo. The bouffant “big hair” look was popularized by movie stars like Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe. Women’s hair was curled, teased, and sprayed into towering shapes that were held in place with gobs of hairspray.

Men’s hair was typically short, but some men wore their hair long in the back and combed their bangs to the side. A popular hairstyle for men in the 1950s was called a “ducktail” or “greaser” hairstyle. This style was characterized by an exaggerated pompadour on top of the head and a ducktail at the nape of the neck. The sides were buzzed close to the scalp.

Accessories were just as important as the hair itself in the 1950s. Girls wore ponytails with bows or barrettes holding them back from their faces; some even used bobby pins to hold back long bangs from their eyes! 

50s Jeans Outfit: Were Jeans Invented By Then?

Jeans are definitely a staple of pop culture. They have been around for a long time, but they didn’t become fashionable until the 50s, when they were popularized by James Dean and Marlon Brando. These bad boys brought a new kind of cool to the table: cuffed, boxy styles of denim as they shook up the squares in their films.

The term ‘jeans’ gained popularity in the 50s, and before then they were usually called ‘denim overalls’ or ‘blue jeans’ (because they were made from denim). 

50s and 60s Fashion

50s and 60s Fashion
Source: nanou_fashionaddict

In the 1950s, the fashion world was all about glamor.

Fashion in the 1950s was inspired by the hourglass figure of Marilyn Monroe and Sophia Loren. Women’s clothing was designed to make them look curvier, with padded shoulders and busts, full skirts and tightly fitted waistlines. Men’s suits were narrow-cut with high lapels, and women often wore their hair in a bouffant style.

In the 1960s, there was a lot more emphasis on comfort rather than glamour — at least for some. This is sometimes referred to as “the British Invasion,” because so many British rock stars like The Beatles brought their style to America.

FAQs – 1950s Fashion

What was unique about 1950s fashion?

The 1950s were a time of change and growth. The Great Depression had come to an end, and the economy was booming after World War II. Women began to take on new roles in society, and men were returning from war in droves looking for work. This meant that the styles of clothing changed dramatically, which were typically more formal and conservative before.

How was the 1950s style dress?

In the 1950s, women began wearing more colorful clothes made from synthetic fabrics like nylon and polyester that could be washed easily. They also wore shorter skirts than before because they wanted to show off their legs as part of their new sense of freedom. Men wore suits with ties on most occasions, but they also wore jeans casually.

Is 50s fashion coming back?

It’s true that 50s fashion is making a comeback but in a very specific way. You don’t see straight stovepipe trousers and velvet-collar jackets on the streets anymore. Instead, you’ll see skinny jeans, leather jackets, and bold prints that are inspired by classic 50s styles.

What was popular in the 50s?

In the 1950s designers were experimenting with new silhouettes, including narrow-waisted dresses, fitted skirts also known as pencil skirts, and polka dot garments. Moreover, cropped sweaters and cardigans were also in fashion in the 50s. 


If you’re a fashion lover and want to know some of the fashion trends in the 50s this blog should give you a snapshot over what the fashions in the 50s were like. The whole decade saw a lot of progress as people started to move away from wartime clothes and clothing they made at home. 

The 1950s fashion style was about the future, going to a place where everything was possible, great life. Sharp fitted suits pushed the limits of individual expression, colored block-printed house dresses celebrated the women who wore them, and glamorous evening gowns catered to the beloved Marilyn Monroe. Yes, this was an era of optimism and progress on a cultural level that we’ve never seen before.

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